June 16th. And since he was a twelfth century son of Pisa, and is now the town's patron saint, his Day is the excuse every year for a luminara, when all the buildings along the river between the Fortezza Bridge and the Guelph Tower are festooned with hundreds of thousands of candles, and the evening finishes with a display of fireworks from behind the Guelph Tower that leaves everybody reeling!
Ranieri was one of those workaday saints - more social worker then miracle worker, who gave all his riches to the poor and proceeded to do good works in general thereafter. None of the fun stuff like levitations or raising incurables from their deathbeds. He now lies entombed in a glass sarcophagus half way up the back wall of the South Transept in the Duomo - which I find a slightly creepy concept on occasion when attending one of the autumnal Anima Mundi Concerts, and have my back to the great man's beatific gaze......
The Brancolis came down for the occasion, so we repeated a few of the Masterchef 2007 recipes, and gave them Langoustines in Vanilla, followed by Saltimbocca alla romana (along with Tomates a la Creme, from Doctor Pomiane himself), and then Peaches in Pistachio Cream. Having polished off a decent bottle of Champagne, in honour of the occasion (and all agreed what a splendid change it made from Prosecco!), we sauntered down to the Lungarno at dusk, to watch the lighting up process, as daylight faded and was overtaken by the myriad flickering lights as far down the river as the eye could see. Magical. Town was buzzing, with street parties everywhere, and the Lungarni closed to traffic and turned over instead to all the trappings of Carnival.
The idea was that we'd be out again after dinner in good time for the fireworks. As it was, we were so engrossed in sampling and discussing the merits of the first bottle of Chateau Brancoli 2006 that we entirely forgot the time, and ended up scurrying back down to the river only after we'd been alerted by the first few explosions. The fireworks were excellent - as was the wine!
Ravioli of Agrumi (oranges and lemons), with a sauce of gamberi in butter.
Fiorentina alla brace. With Rocket and Parmesan.
Cherries poached in syrup, then chilled with fresh Mint.